MLBbro Jordan Walker has been Bro bombing on The Cactus League, leading all of MLB in most major hitting categories.
Cameron Maybin: “It’s Not Unreasonable” That Aaron Judge Hits 65 Bro Bombs This Season
MLB Network took the crew out to Spring Training in Tampa Bay, Florida to take a look at how the New York Yankees are preparing for another season with “World Series Or Bust” dreams. It’s been 13 years since the Yankees won a pennant. It’s the third longest drought in franchise history.
Noone knows this better than Aaron Judge, who led the Yankees to a formidable 99 wins and an AL East crown last season before falling to their Achilles heel, Houston Astros in the ALCS. Judge compiled one of the greatest statistical seasons in MLB history. The 2022 AL MVP batted .311 with 62 homers, 131 RBI, a .425 OBP, .686 slugging and 2011 OPS+ in 157 games played. Judge’s OPS + was the highest for a right-handed batter since 1946 (post WW II).
Lauren Shehadi and Carlos Peña interviewed the newly minted Yankees captain who is $360M richer after cashing in this offseason. They covered several topics.
Facets Of His Game That Needs Improving?
“Last year I really tried to focus on base running and getting into scoring position a lot, especially hitting at the top of the lineup,” Judge said. “This year just contact rate, an improved two strike approach in situational hitting. That’s what wins ballgames down the stretch. When you’ve got ducks on a pond you’ve got to drive those guys in.”
Why Is Being An Elite Defender So important?
“I just want to be a complete player,” said Judge. “I know everybody is busting their butts on the field and grinding especially with this pitch clock now we’re going to be working overtime trying to get through innings. I just want to make sure that if a ball is hit my way, I can do everything in my power to make the play for them…Even growing up as a kid it was always about being a complete player.”
Judge also reiterated how much of a blessing it is to be able to wear the legendary pinstripes and perform in front of Yankees fans every night.
MLB Network studio analyst Alex Aliva and Brutha Broadcaster Cameron Maybin offered their two cents on what they predict for the Paul Bunyan of baseball in 2023.
“It’s not unreasonable” that Judge hits 65 homers.” Maybin said. Though he cautioned that Judge’s 2022 is a hard act to follow.
“How can you do better? He says he wants to get on base more if he gets on base anymore, he’s going to score 150 runs. it’s hard for him to duplicate or be better than that.”
More realistically, Maybin said he envisions Judge hitting in the 50-homer range.
“I think he’s that kind of hitter.” Maybin insisted. “He talks about situational hitting and putting the ball in play. These are the things that win you championships. So when you hear Aaron Judge talk about that, he’s creating the mindset for the whole entire team not just himself”
The Yankees have been victims of the swing-and-miss, failing to push runs across at crucial moments late in games through means other than the homerun, so Judge’s comments on situational hitting shows he’s locked in on what the Yankees need to do to get over the hump.
Compares Aaron Judge To Miggy Cabrera
Avila was also very complimentary towards Judge and compared him to Miguel Cabrera at a similar stage in Miggy’s career.
“When you get to the caliber of player that Aaron’s at right now. It reminds me of playing with Miggy when he was in his prime and posting MVP seasons each year. You expect those types of years. For Aaron it’s more about figuring out the little things to win a game – the things that help you win”
Judge does average 49 homers over 162 games, so that projection is not farfetched.
Yankees Soul Patrol Has Life
The Yankees projected starting lineup features three MLBbros in Judge, who will remain the everyday right fielder with Harrison Bader assuming center field duties. MLBbro Giancarlo Stanton and his guaranteed 30 bombs will DH and can pinch in with outfield duty if needed. Aaron Hicks seems to have survived the storm and is slated to return to the starting lineup in leftfield.
Some new faces in new places, but the fate of the Yankees rides on the all-around dominance of Judge.
MLBbro Adam Jones Explains Why Fans Can’t Hate On Manny Machado For Opting Out Of Deal With Padres
As the WBC rolls around former MLBbro All-Star centerfielder Adam Jones‘ name makes its way back into the baseball conscience. Jones’ incredible catch, robbing Manny Machado of a sure homer, with the US leading DR 4-2 in the seventh inning of the World Baseball Classic semifinals.
The Adam Jones WBC catch. pic.twitter.com/2gLZCiTDBy
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) March 19, 2017
Jones’ all-time great catch stole the momentum back from the tournament favorite enroute to a championship game demolition of Puerto Rico (8-0) to capture Team USA’s first WBC title.
Recently, Jones, who has no problem breaking baseball down like a James Brown bridge for anyone who craves it, offered his thoughts on the mixed emotions towards San Diego Padres star Manny Machado, who has opted out of his contract and will be a free agent at the end of the season. Of course, Padres fans don’t want a player of his ilk to leave, right when the franchise is starting to blossom again. But Jones is a starch defender of players rights as evidenced by his influential role in MLB’s Player’s Alliance.
Jones responded to a Tweet about Manny Machado’s appearance on 97.3 The Fan, where the six-time discussed the tough decision of opting out.
“It’s obviously a hard decision for me and my family, but it’s not about myself or anything. Some people might say, ‘He just wants the money.’ No, we love San Diego. We have a home there. We love this organization, we love the way things have been moving around here, and going in the right direction.
“But at the end of the day, sometimes business is business. And I think it wouldn’t be in my interest if I — you know, the market has changed in five years. In one year it’s changed. You see it in life, you see it in the real world. Let’s take away baseball. The price of eggs is how much? It’s just life. Things change, a lot of things change. Ultimately, the markets change, right?”
Adam Jones Defends Manny Machado Decision To Opt Out
Jones, who amassed more than $100M in salary during his career came to Machado’s defense.
When it comes to Machado opting out, Jones, who had over 160 hits seven times and was once a veteran teammate of a younger (and brasher) Machado, Tweeted:
“As he should. He’s EARNED THE RIGHT. What don’t most get about this. It’s a business. And players have the same right as the owners to make the best BUSINESS DECISION FOR THEMSELVES.”
As he should. He’s EARNED THE RIGHT. What don’t most get about this. It’s a business. And players have the same right as the owners to make the best BUSINESS DECISION for themselves. Like what’s so hard to believe. Get some more years added. Why not. https://t.co/jmjRf0lseE
— 10 (@SimplyAJ10) February 25, 2023
Jones championing for Machado’s right to free enterprise started a conversation with many showing support for Machado’s decision for the same reasons Jones mentioned.
Not all athletes. But Manny for sure. I mean did u hear what Dustin Johnson said about signing with Liv? Pay more work less. Who wouldn’t signed up for that lol. Exclude the politics in a response hahahaha
— 10 (@SimplyAJ10) February 25, 2023
Exactly. That’s why they put opt outs. Stanton had one or two in his deal. Ain’t opt out. Arenado had an opt out but didn’t. Had he did NO ONE WOULDVE SAID ANYTHING. But they will always talk when it comes to Manny. And I think he loves it
— 10 (@SimplyAJ10) February 25, 2023
Jones was also referring to Machado’s love-hate relationship with the media and his early reputation as a cocky but incredibly talented and charismatic “villain of the game.” Machado was 19 when he crashed into MLB and brought all of his competitive spice and youthful exuberance with him. Now 30, he’s still trying to shake the reputation he’s developed among some fans and media in his early days.
As one Tweeter mentioned, “Manny is a superstar and his 10 for 300M deal that he signed five seasons ago, looks like a steal currently with the way the market is paying for MVP caliber superstars so why not, opt out and test it? I don’t get the hate. Me as a Orioles fan I’m more butt hurt my owner didn’t shell out the cash to keep “my guys.”
It’s Just Business: Fans Don’t Want To Hear That
The business of the move is totally understandable, however, that’s not going to make Padres fans feel any less scorned. Machado is only 29 and he’s already an 11-year veteran. He will break the 300-homer mark in the first half of the season, barring a super slow start. He currently sits at 283 and despite the loss of MLBBro slugger Josh Bell and rising star CJ Abrams, there are huge expectations in San Diego, especially with the first Spring Training for Juan Soto and return of Fernando Tatis.
Some fans understand the market, math and motive, but still question why Machado, who already secured a $300M contract in San Diego has to test the market instead of staying loyal to the fan base and continuing to strive for the first World Series title in franchise history. Build his lasting legacy in San Diego. Make that franchise’s hat and jersey the one he wears in Cooperstown, rather than Baltimore, where he spent the first 6.5 years of his career.
I understand looking out for yourself but how much money does 1 person need? When is enough gonna ever be enough? The most $ a person makes in my family is 80,000 a year and she lives comfortably. You can't tell me "Oh, inflation ". If you play in MLB, you make enough to survive
— Jesse (@Jesse98981052) February 25, 2023
Like it or love it, Jones is a staunch advocate for player’s rights, especially the young Bros coming up the financial ladder. In case anyone was confused, Machado is exercising his, which is very important in a capitalistic business where the owners make 100 times more than the highest-paid player. Reassessing your market value is always a smart play and keeps you from becoming a pawn in the machine. The stars have to strike when the iron is hot. They not only have an obligation to their families, but to the market and how the players who drive the game, connect with the fans, create the interest and perform the feats, are valued in the overall business structure.
MLB.com Says These MLBbros Could Go 40-40 This Season | It’s Only Been Done By Four Players…Ever
MLB.com recently released a list of nine MLB players with the best chance to have a 40-40 season. The list of players with the rare combination of speed and power qualified to make this list is very exclusive. There are only four players in the history of MLB who have posted 40-40 seasons: Jose Canseco in 1988, Barry Bonds in 1996, Alex Rodriguez in 1998 and Alfonso Soriano in 2006.
This is a category for the most dynamic and gifted players. Barry Bonds is the only player in history with 500 career homers and 500 steals. That’s all you need to know about how hard it is for players to consistently combine elite power and speed on a nightly basis over 162 games. The way the game has changed with the influx of metrics-based team construction and game strategy, it’s not shocking that it’s been 17 years since a player was able to execute those two lethal skills sets at such a high level.
Of the nine players that MLB.com reporter Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) deemed capable of going 40-40 in 2023, three of them were MLBbros.
Michael Harris II
Money Mike Harris is the reigning NL Rookie of the Year and for good reason. The crown jewel of MLB’s developmental programs fell one homer shy of a 20-20 season in just 114 games. The Atlanta Braves star hit 19 homers and stole 20 bases.
His sprint speed ranks in the 95th percentile. 30-30 is probably a more reasonable projection for Harris, whose power is still developing, but with the effects of MLB’s various rule changes on the game still unproven, it’s not farfetched to project that with a full season under his belt, Harris could approach the 40-40 mark.
With the dynamic Marlins infielder being moved to centerfield, he will have less responsibility and more time to focus on his potentially explosive offensive game. The Bahamian Blur has some of the quickest hands in the game and stands in some exclusive company for taking a Jacob DeGrom 100 mph fastball into orbit.
100 MPH pitch from Jacob deGrom? ⁰⁰Light work for Jazz Chisholm Jr. 😳⁰⁰(via @MLB)pic.twitter.com/TG6UqXOCNZ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 10, 2021
And you already know the poetic mayhem he causes with his legs on the basepaths. He’s truly a special player who has only scratched the surface of his potential. Chisholm was a dynamic and versatile infielder who can play both middle positions. As an outfielder he is sure to make some dynamic plays that will make the MLB Network highlights on a regular basic.
Chisholm has only played 205 career games in three seasons. In his official rookie season in 2021, Jazz had 18 homers and 23 steals in 124 games. He was an All-Star before being injured last season and still had 14 bombs in in 60 games. If he can play 150 games he would definitely be in contention for a 30-30 season. If he has a peak season, then 40-40 isn’t a pipe dream.
Mullins already reached the elite 30-30 mark in 2021. His production dipped a bit last season, but the talented centerfielder primed for a huge comeback year surrounded by the most talent he’s ever played with. If you’ve already gone 30-30 when nobody thought you’d even stick around the league, then who’s to say “CM Storm” couldn’t elevate to a 40-40 season in 2023.
Baseball is implementing three key new rules this season: pitch clock, shift bans and larger bases.
Larger Bases Leads To More Steals, Doubles, Triples?
A three-inch increase in base size from 15 to 18 inches could be significant. According to MLB, “players’ feet are much bigger now than when the bases were designed and this could possibly increase the action on the basepaths (making it easier to steal bases or take the extra base on hits) and to possibly make it easier for players to stay on second and third in close plays instead of having long replays to see if a player barely came off the bag for a split second.”
“In addition to increasing the entertainment value of the game, the increased base size in the minors has coincided with a decrease in base-related injuries by 13.5 percent.”
We are entering another era of baseball, with some tweaks that don’t change the integrity of the game, but definitely re-infuses those key elements of the game that make MLB exciting and have been lost in recent years, thus diminishing the product.
Shouts to MLBbro stolen base kings like Lou Brock and Maury Wills, who we lost during the past few years.